Western Power and Smart Wires trial first power flow control project in Western Australia

We are delighted to announce the first trial installation of Smart Wires technology on the Western Power transmission system. In December 2017, Western Power crews successfully installed PowerLine Guardian® devices on the Mandurah-Pinjarra 132kV transmission line, marking the second installation of Smart Wires devices in Australia.

PowerLine Guardian® devices, belonging to Smart Wires’ Guardian family of products, can be dispatched in real time to act as “valves” on a transmission line, “pushing” power to underutilised paths in the network by injecting inductive reactance. These devices can be rapidly deployed and also be easily relocated elsewhere in the network should system needs change. This allows for scalable and flexible solutions that reduce the risk associated with making investments amidst change and uncertainty.

“With Smart Wires we foresee the potential to optimise the use of our existing infrastructure by making our network more dynamic, to redirect electricity quickly with the aim to meet our customers’ needs in a reliable and efficient way,” said Sean Mc Goldrick, Western Power’s Executive Manager for Asset Management.

Smart Wires solutions have the potential to enhance the value of Western Power’s electric service by enabling increased integration of renewable resources whilst simultaneously minimizing the need for costly transmission upgrades.  Western Power and Smart Wires are studying these opportunities in parallel with the innovation project on the Mandurah-Pinjarra line.

“Western Power is seeing considerable change on its network, driven primarily by the growth of renewable energies in Western Australia.  Smart Wires is proud to be collaborating with the team at Western Power to consider opportunities for modular power flow control as a possible network strategy going forward,” commented Yves Meyer, Smart Wires Vice President for International Business Development.

Smart Wires’ Millennium Milestone

In mid-November, Smart Wires passed a noteworthy milestone: 1,000 device-years1 of field run-time. Deployments are spread across three continents – Europe, Australia and North America – and include a variety of devices across GuardianTM and SmartValveTM product families.

After receiving Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) grant funding in 2011, Smart Wires moved from prototype to field-ready unit in less than a year. The first ever modular power flow control devices were installed on Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)’s system in 2012. Since then, leading utilities across the world have embraced the flexibility offered by Smart Wires solutions. EirGrid, RTE, Southern Company, Pacific Gas & Electric, Minnesota Power and TransGrid are among the utilities with Smart Wires installations.

The 1,000 device-years of field run-time have been accumulated across a voltage levels from 63 kV to 230 kV and ambient conditions ranging from sub-zero degree days in Minnesota to calm days in the South West of France to hurricane force winds in Ireland. The units have thrived in all conditions.

Bob Suehiro, VP of Customer Support and Installation, and his team oversee installations and commissioning of Smart Wires products and are responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction with operation of the units after installation. “It’s so exciting to pass this milestone and amazing to see how far we’ve come as a company. Next year is going to be a very busy year for us, so we look forward to achieving the second millennium milestone in no time at all!”

1 Device Years are computed by taking the number of devices at a particular installation and multiplying that by the number of years that installation has been in service. The total Device Years is the sum of all the individual installation Device Years.

Infineon partners with Smart Wires to shape up existing grids for renewables

Infineon Technologies AG is partnering with Smart Wires on the design of the SmartValve™. Infineon announced its collaboration with the Silicon Valley-based technology company at the OktoberTech 2017 Technology Forum. Read more here »

TransGrid and Smart Wires trialling real time power flow control and monitoring on NSW transmission network

TransGrid and Smart Wires have finalised a partnership to deploy advanced power flow control solutions on the New South Wales transmission grid.  TransGrid crews finalised an installation of the Smart Wires PowerLine Guardian on the 132 kV system near Yass, in southern New South Wales. This installation marks the first deployment of Smart Wires technology in Australia.

“We see considerable potential to use innovative technology across our system as we manage the changing generation portfolio in Australia and optimally integrate large quantities of renewable resources,” said Gerard Reiter, TransGrid’s Executive General Manager of Asset Management. “We are always interested in finding new ways to maximise the use of the New South Wales transmission network, and we’re looking forward to working with Smart Wires in this trial.”
The PowerLine Guardian devices that have been installed as part of the trial belong to Smart Wires’ Guardian family of products.  These devices can be dispatched in real time to act as “valves” on a transmission line, pushing power to underutilised paths in the network by injecting inductive reactance.  While TransGrid’s units are mounted directly on the conductor, Smart Wires has also developed larger, more powerful Guardian devices that can be installed on structures or within bank arrays, in a substation for example.  Together with Smart Wires’ SmartValve devices, which can push or pull power, this modular technology enables the operator to actively control the way power flows on the transmission system and allows increased utilization of existing grid infrastructure.  The devices can be rapidly deployed on the system and can be easily relocated elsewhere in the network should system needs change.

With the first Smart Wires installation in Australia, TransGrid will be uniquely positioned to demonstrate the impact of Smart Wires solutions in a rapidly evolving market. “Australia is undergoing a massive energy transformation and one that is arguably faster than those seen in other developed markets such as the United States or Europe,” said Smart Wires Vice President of Asia Pacific, Yves Meyer.  “TransGrid is actively reshaping its business as one of Australia’s leading TNSPs.  We look forward to continuing to work with TransGrid to optimise its transmission system and deliver innovative solutions for its customers.”

TransGrid and Smart Wires are currently studying several opportunities to implement Smart Wires solutions elsewhere on the transmission network.  “Modular power flow control has the potential to be an important part of our toolkit when it comes to transmission development.  We’re excited to take part in this project and explore additional applications on our network,” said Andrew Kingsmill, TransGrid’s Manager of Network Planning.

RTE successfully completes the first stage of Smart Wires Guardian technology installation

Last week the French transmission company RTE successfully completed its first installation of Smart Wires PowerLine Guardian modules on a 63 kV overhead line located in the South West of France.  The full deployment of this distributed power flow controller will allow a more flexible operational control leading to an improved quality of electricity for the customers of the area. The installation of the first stage (6 modules) took one day, during which RTE’s line men learned how to deal with these new devices.

This application highlights RTE’s leadership in utilising new innovative technology and its ability to quickly focus resources on a dedicated project.  After a period of users’ feedback, RTE will investigate completing the installation with a few tens of modules (up to 1W) on this same overhead line as the full and operational solution.

Christian POUMAREDE, R&D project leader at RTE said “We were delighted to partner with Smart Wires on this project. Their level of customer service and innovation were very professional and accurate.”

Smart Wires’ Managing Director for Europe, Michael Walsh said, “We are very proud to have completed our first project in mainland Europe with RTE. Their level of insight and openness to change and innovation was amazing. All around the world the generation and consumption of energy is changing. It is becoming increasingly difficult for network companies to respond to these needs with conventional technology. At Smart Wires, we are dedicated to providing new solutions that can be quickly deployed and tailored to efficiently match changes in the power system as they emerge.”

Background on RTE

RTE is the French high and extra high voltage electricity transmission system operator. The network operated by RTE is the biggest one in Europe with 105.448 km of electric lines (100.000 km of overhead lines and 5.000 km of underground cables) and 50 cross-border lines. RTE satisfies its customers’ (producers, industrial consumers and traders) needs guaranteeing a quality service at the best cost and without any discrimination. RTE takes part in the smartgrids projects with a view to preparing the future power system. 8500 men and women are our company’s driving force.

Background on Smart Wires
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, with offices in the U.S., the U.K., Ireland and Australia, Smart Wires is the global leader in grid optimization solutions that leverage its patented modular power flow control technology. Smart Wires’ technology was developed by utilities for utilities; Southern Company and TVA led a consortium of large U.S. utilities at the National Electric Energy Testing Research and Applications Center (NEETRAC). Driven by a world-class leadership team with extensive experience delivering innovative solutions, Smart Wires partners with utilities around the globe to address the unique challenges of the rapidly evolving electric system.

Media Contact: Scott.homes@smartwires.com

Minnesota Power Deploys Smart Wires to Optimize Grid and Save Customers Money

Minnesota Power and Smart Wires completed the installation of a deployment of PowerLine Guardians® in Little Falls, Minnesota, on a 115 kV circuit. The installation occurred over a three-day period in December and the units were placed into operation in early 2017. Part of the Smart Wires Guardian product family, this technology increases a line’s reactance, pushing power away from that line and onto other underutilized paths on the grid.

“Minnesota Power is committed to delivering security, comfort and quality of life to our customers. The integrity and reliability of the grid is a huge part of that. Smart Wires’ technology is very aligned with the execution of our mission and vision.” said Brad Oachs, who oversees Minnesota Power as President of Regulated Operations of ALLETE.

In-line with their EnergyForward strategy, Minnesota Power is leveraging Smart Wires’ technology to increase the utilization of existing assets and save their customers money. This solution alleviates the need to reconductor the line, a time- and labor-intensive installation of new wires and poles.

“We have a deep commitment to delivering a high-quality product on-schedule, because we understand the external forces that exist on our customers such as weather, outage windows, crew availability, endangered species cycles and more.  The innovation and excellence at all levels within Minnesota Power made the hardware and software installation seamless and easy. We look forward to continuing to meet every expectation in this important partnership,” commented Randy Sprout, Smart Wires COO.

By deploying Smart Wires technology, Minnesota Power joins a group of leading utilities leveraging these solutions to create a flexible, dynamic grid.

About Minnesota Power
Minnesota Power provides electric service within a 26,000-square-mile area in northeastern Minnesota, supporting comfort, security and quality of life for 144,000 customers, 16 municipalities and some of the largest industrial customers in the U.S.

Minnesota Power and Smart Wires Announce Partnership

 

minn-power-collage

Minnesota Power and Smart Wires announced today their partnership to deploy an innovative solution for optimizing the flow of power on the grid. Smart Wires is a leading provider of power flow control technology for transmission systems.

This first deployment of Smart Wires at Minnesota Power is intended to be completed by the end of 2016 and will utilize Smart Wires PowerLine Guardian® technology. PowerLine Guardians are devices that are installed directly on existing power lines and essentially act as valves for electricity. They can be implemented to relieve heavily loaded power lines by pushing power onto other, underutilized lines in the grid. The devices can be controlled remotely by the grid operator or programmed to activate automatically, responding to real-time line conditions.

“With Smart Wires we are able to optimize the use of our existing infrastructure, enabling us to improve the overall utilization of our assets and to save our customers money by deferring the need for costly transmission upgrades. These innovative solutions fit seamlessly into our Energy Forward strategy to create a smarter, stronger, cleaner energy future while efficiently delivering the safe and reliable power our customers rely upon,” said Al Hodnik, Chairman, CEO and President of ALLETE.

The installation at Minnesota Power represents the first stage of what is potentially a multi-stage deployment. The modular nature of Smart Wires is uniquely advantageous, providing Minnesota Power valuable flexibility in a time of increasing uncertainty around future network needs. As the grid evolves, the Smart Wires solution can be easily scaled to accommodate changing conditions on the network. The technology is also easily re-deployable and can be moved from one location to another to address emerging issues elsewhere on the grid.

“The Minnesota Power deployment represents a great opportunity for our team at Smart Wires to partner with an innovative leader in the utility industry,” says Jim Davis, CEO of Smart Wires. “As Minnesota Power continues to transition to a clean and dynamic grid, our flexible and modular solutions are critical new additions to their toolkit for solving challenges.”

By deploying Smart Wires, Minnesota Power joins a group of leading utilities leveraging these solutions to solve a host of unique challenges. Smart Wires’ unique modular approach to grid infrastructure has several advantages over traditional power flow control solutions that typically require long-lead times, are highly complex, demand significant capital investment, and ultimately represent single points of failure. Additionally, Smart Wires solutions are typically more cost effective than conventional system upgrades like reconductoring or building new lines. Utility crews can typically complete PowerLine Guardian installations in only a few days, dramatically reducing the amount of construction activities that can disturb the environment and customer communities.

“We believe this is a great first project for Minnesota Power,” says Smart Wires Chairman Tom Voss. “We are excited to work with this innovative industry leader and look forward to continuing our collaboration by creatively delivering high-value solutions as part of a cleaner, more modern and efficient grid for Minnesota Power and its customers.”

About Smart Wires
Smart Wires solutions are deployed at leading utilities such as PG&E, Southern Company, TVA and EirGrid. Our modular approach to grid infrastructure is unique and has several advantages over traditional power flow control solutions that typically require long-lead times, are highly complex, demand significant capital investment, and ultimately represent single points of failure. Smart Wires solutions can be deployed incrementally and reconfigured as needs evolve, thereby reducing investment risk, shortening lead times, and providing flexibility in an era of increasing operational uncertainty. Smart Wires is located in the San Francisco Bay Area with offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Ireland. More information can be found at www.smartwires.com.

About Minnesota Power
Minnesota Power provides electric service within a 26,000-square-mile area in northeastern Minnesota, supporting comfort, security and quality of life for 144,000 customers, 16 municipalities and some of the largest industrial customers in the United States. More information can be found at www.mnpower.com.

The statements contained in this release and statements that ALLETE may make orally in connection with this release that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and investors are directed to the risks discussed in documents filed by ALLETE with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Smart Wires Honored as One of the 20 Most Promising Utilities Technology Solution Providers

Jim Davis

Fremont, CA, August 24, 2016

Smart Wires earned a place in the list of 20 Most Promising Utilities Technology Solution Providers 2016 by CIOReview. It’s a pleasure to announce Smart Wires, Inc. as one among the 20 Most Promising Utilities Technology Solution Providers 2016,” said Jeevan George, Managing Editor of CIOReview. “Smart Wires achieves recognition for helping utilities to create a dynamic grid that responds to unplanned events across the system and enables continuous service for utility customers.” Smart Wires was selected for this award based on their innovative technology, customer focus and momentum in the marketplace.

CIOReview explores and understands the plethora of ways adopted by firms to execute the smooth functioning of their businesses. A distinguished panel comprising of CEOs, CIOs, IT VPs including CIOReview editorial board finalized the “20 Most Promising Utilities Technology Solution Providers 2016” in the U.S. and shortlisted the best vendors and consultants in the utility arena.

Smart Wires’ CEO, Jim Davis, accepted the award on behalf of Smart Wires and was featured in a CIOReview news article. He commented, “Smart Wires looks beyond just adding additional capabilities to transmission lines, it is about building intelligent assets and transforming the way utilities plan their grids.”

Download the full article here.

CIO-Review-article-on-Smart-Wires